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close this bookEnvironmentally Sound Technologies for Women in Agriculture (IIRR, 1996, 213 p.)
close this folderWater management for farm and home
View the documentSafe drinking water
View the documentMaintenance of community water sources
View the documentManagement of drinking water for the household
View the documentSome simple ways to purify drinking water
View the documentUse of indigenous plants for cleaning water
View the documentSoakage pit for proper disposal of waste water
View the documentEfficient use of irrigation water

Maintenance of community water sources

Any water source is a valuable property of the entire village. Therefore, it is everyone's responsibility to guard the water source from contamination.

Taps and water pumps

- Keep the tap and pump and the surrounding area clean.

- Make a drain to lead excess water away from the tap or pump.

- Excess water can be used to water a field or kitchen garden, or can be drained into a soakage pit. This prevents the surrounding area from getting muddy.

- Clean drains regularly.

- Repair cracks in concrete. Repair cracked or damaged pipes promptly.

- Protect the water source, piping system, and storage tank from contamination by people, animals, agricultural and industrial waste.

- Prevent children from putting their lips on the tap or pump when drinking water.

- Bathe and wash clothes at least 15 m away from the tap or hand pump.

- Make a fence around the tap or hand pump to keep cattle and other animals away.

- If it is necessary to water cattle from the pump, make a special cemented trough some distance (about 15 m) away from the pump.

- Turn off taps after use. Do not waste water.

Watering a kitchen garden.

Bathe and wash clothes at least 15 m away from the tap or hand pump.


- Sink wells in good soil at least 15 m away from possible sources of contamination, such as cesspools or insanitary privies.

- Fill in all hollows, rat holes, foul tanks, cesspits, etc., near the well.

- The site should be sufficiently high to prevent water from flowing toward and seeping into the well.

- Provide a parapet wall around the top of the well about 1 m high to prevent surface water from entering the well. The top of the well wall should slope (should not be horizontal) to discourage people from sitting or washing clothes on it, and thereby contaminating the water.

- Cut down or trim trees and vegetation close by so that leaves and bird droppings do not fall into the well. Tree roots should not be allowed to sprout from the lining of the well.

- Cover the well to prevent leaves and dust from blowing inside.

Prevent sparrows and pigeons from making their nests in the lining of the well.

Provide a proper washing and bathing place at a distance from the well and preferably at a lower level than the well so that waste water flows away. Waste water seeping into the ground close to the well can contaminate the well water.

- Provide a cemented area around the well at least 2 m in diameter. Make it slope away from the well so that surface washings flow away from the well and not into it.

- The buckets of individual users might be dirty and contaminate the well water. So, discourage users from lowering their own buckets into the well.

- Attach a strong bucket with a chain or rope to the well permanently for public use. Keep this bucket clean.

Tanks and ponds

If possible, do not use water from tanks and ponds for drinking. Use well water instead. If you must use water from tanks or ponds, try to follow these guidelines.

Select sites with good surroundings with no insanitary conditions or bore-hole latrines in the vicinity.

Ensure that banks are properly sloped and planted with grass.

The tank or pond should be ringed by an embankment to prevent water from flowing in.

Do not allow surface drains to empty into the tank or pond.

Fence the tank or pond to keep away cattle.

Keep one tank for drinking water and another for other activities, such as washing, bathing, and watering animals.

Draw water without going into the tank. Draw water from the steps or by means of a hand pump.

Plant trees only at a distance so as not to attract cattle and bird droppings.

Remove weeds and algae regularly.

Clean the tank or pond regularly and re-excavate when dry.

This will increase its capacity as well.

Do not allow any commercial activities, such as jute steeping in the tank.

Source: National Drinking Water Mission, Government of India, Mr. Yash Pal Bedi and Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity, Government of India